The discomfort you’re feeling is grief.

There were 47 deaths because of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reported on March 2 throughout the Philippines. Among the casualties was a 68-year-old male Palawan resident in Metro Manila, who hoped to go home on Holy Week.

“The last time I saw him was through CCTV. Dumaan siya sa nurse station at nilipat sa isolation room. I was 15 feet away,” said Luke, as he described the last moments he had with his father.

Luke, a 27-year-old Palaweño, also tested positive for COVID-19 within two days after his father’s death. Two other members of their family were also COVID-19 positive, and are being held at an isolation facility in Quezon City.

“I am okay. We’re all okay. Mild symptoms lang and on our way to recovery,” Luke added.

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The most difficult part of grief, Luke narrated, was the fact that their family did not have time to mourn the loss of the head of their family.

His father contracted the highly infectious disease on February 21. Five days later, his condition progressed to severe requiring him to be intubated. Three days into deep battle against COVID-19, he lost his life.

“It all happened so fast. When I learned na na-admit si papa [ay noong] February 22, bumalik ako ng Manila ng maaga because someone has to sign a few consent forms and waivers,” Luke recalled.

Grief is a natural and ongoing response to loss, and it can be more pronounced in uncertain times such as these, according to Luke.

“The sad thing is hindi pa ulit nakakauwi si papa. ‘Yong last niya was Christmas 2019,” Luke added.

More than a year after the pandemic hit the country, 12,837 Filipinos have died because of COVID-19 (as of Tuesday afternoon tally from DOH). Grieving the loss of a loved one while coping with the fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially overwhelming.

Luke said he temporarily stopped watching news and have veered away from social media as it merely depicts toll counts, but not the humanity.

“Statistics are very inhuman. The experience is different when you’re dealing with the actual loss. I hope people stay safe,” said Luke as he ended our interview.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.